Out of Focus

Out of Focus

Out of Focus

by Steve Napierski to Comics

First off, if you enjoy the art direction of this comic you’ll probably get a kick out of Friday 4Koma as it’s the inspiration for it.

I’ve finally gotten a chance to sit down and play some Final Fantasy XIII. I’m going to wait until the end to reserve final judgment. I also don’t want to say too much, because I have a few more ideas for Final Fantasy XIII comics and I’d rather not divulge them before I actually create them.

That said, I wouldn’t mind hearing from you guys about your opinion of the game is/was in the comment section. Also, if anyone has noticed a big difference between the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions mention that as well. Personally, I’ve got the PS3 version so I’m still on disc one ;)

See you on Thursday!

Discussion (47)¬

  1. leo112358
    leo112358 says:
    May 10, 2010 at 12:51 am #

    No real difference as far as I can tell except the 360 version outputs at a lower resolution than the PS3 version but that’s more hardware than software related.

  2. bidoopoo
    bidoopoo says:
    May 10, 2010 at 1:06 am #

    “Also, if anyone has noticed a big difference between the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions mention that as well.” – Steve Napierski

    The only difference I’ve seen is the PS3 version will run you $6.52 more… Okay seriously, they have some nice screen-shots up here:

    http://www.siliconera.com/2010/02/12/here-have-some-final-fantasy-xiii-xbox-360-vs-ps3-comparison-screenshots/

  3. David
    David says:
    May 10, 2010 at 1:14 am #

    He seems to be glaring at her chest in that last panel. I probably would too at that level.

  4. Chris Smedley
    Chris Smedley says:
    May 10, 2010 at 1:38 am #

    It’s the greatest game evar!!!!!!!11111 I’ve nevar seen a bettr game in my life! I look forward to playing it. /joke.
    I’ve yet to play it, but from what I’ve heard from people is that it takes a while to get properlly started, but then I think that it’s because the reviewers don’t like RPGs and aren’t used to long lasting games that have a longer period of time to get a plot in, instead of cramming it all in at once. Although, I’ve heard Lightning’s Footsteps can induce insanity…

  5. John Doe
    John Doe says:
    May 10, 2010 at 1:43 am #

    The game is very linear until you get out of the tutorial (about act 10). That being said, it’s a beautifully developed game with amazing visual art and an interesting story. I love how Pulse looks once you get to the open world.

  6. tubazo1989
    tubazo1989 says:
    May 10, 2010 at 1:58 am #

    Sadly, I rented it. I know I need more time, and while I may sound like the FFXIII Zero Punctuation, I was seriously less than 6 hours into it and couldn’t find the desire to move on………..and that was the first day out of 7 rental days!

    Seriously, I would rather play through FFVII, IX, or X 5 times each than touch XIII right now………..give me a year when it’s $20 new and I’ll give it another chance.

  7. Hpets
    Hpets says:
    May 10, 2010 at 2:32 am #

    Ugh, Final Fantasy XIII. Where do I start?

    The long answer: http://hpets.deviantart.com/journal/31996770/

    The short answer: Several bad calls on the gameplay format. MANY bad calls on the story content.

  8. Mirage_GSM
    Mirage_GSM says:
    May 10, 2010 at 2:44 am #

    I’m about half through I think – meaning I finished the main storyline and about half the mark missions ;-)
    Was a bit sceptical about the combat system at first – heard lots of bad stuff about it. But once you get to freely choose your party it’s great. I think it’s the best since FF X.
    Story is OK… Doesn’t match VI or VII of course, but some very interesting twists.
    In all a good step above X-II and XII

  9. NaMe
    NaMe says:
    May 10, 2010 at 3:17 am #

    …i need a third person shooting game — preferably online xD S4L >:)

  10. lucky644
    lucky644 says:
    May 10, 2010 at 3:48 am #

    Love the art style, would like to see more :)

  11. devronius
    devronius says:
    May 10, 2010 at 6:21 am #

    Game sucked unbelievably. Completely linear until chapter 10 (30+ hours in), holds your hand the whole time, battle system starts off interesting, but never gets any more tactical than ‘hit them til they stagger then hit them some more, change to healing if you get low, use status magic if they have high defence/HP’. You barely even get the chance to choose what magic you use anyway, because the battles are so fast paced and you only control one character anyway. Story started off interesting, but as you went along just became an insane mess that by the end made not one bit of sense, with things happening with zero explanation. Apparently to get more of an idea you have to read the fucking DATALOG. As if someone is going to sit and read that when they could be playing a game? Also, Hope managed to get MORE annoying when he stopped moping about his dead mother. How does that even happen?

    Honestly, all the gameplay was horribly dumbed down and generally disappointing for anyone who was hoping for a return to form for the series. Liked it less than XII, which I was pretty violently opposed to at the time. But hey, it looks pretty, so it must be good, right? Right?

  12. Aaronn
    Aaronn says:
    May 10, 2010 at 6:48 am #

    LOL AHA! NICE! loving the 4koma art style :]

  13. PsychoKarin
    PsychoKarin says:
    May 10, 2010 at 7:30 am #

    The game is fail in a can. I preordered the game, waited three damn years for it. I have loved EVERY installment, except 12 and 9, which I enjoyed at least. But this IS NOT FINAL FANTASY. Linear for 10 chapters, barely any (like 4) sidequests, final weapon creating is no sense of accomplishments, one character controlled in combat? This blew, badly.

  14. David
    David says:
    May 10, 2010 at 8:17 am #

    Is it really so bad for an RPG to have a linear storyline? I’m thinking no.

  15. Steve Napierski
    Steve Napierski says:
    May 10, 2010 at 8:56 am #

    @bidoopoo I think they revealed those screencaps to be fake a while ago. Just too perfect to be real.

  16. Serneum
    Serneum says:
    May 10, 2010 at 9:00 am #

    @devronius 30 hours to chapter 10? I got there in under 20 and then spend the next 5+ doing Chapter 11…I’ve seen it mentioned online several times that the first half of the game is Ch.1-10 and the second half is 11-13, and it’s true.

    As for my thoughts on the game, it is linear, but I don’t care if it is or not. I enjoyed the game, and while some of the characters and the story may be rather ridiculous, it’s still not as horrible as people make it sound. Yes, the first 4 chapters suck beyond belief because of all the character swapping, but after that it isn’t bad at all

  17. TechXero
    TechXero says:
    May 10, 2010 at 9:37 am #

    Sadly Square died to me when FFVII came out, they ruineda great series (except for FFIX, that game was great). I miss the classic Final Fantasies and others like Mario RPG and Chrono Trigger. This is all my personal oppinion so if anyone enjoys FFVII and FFXIII then the more power to you.

  18. CSX
    CSX says:
    May 10, 2010 at 10:25 am #

    I personally liked it minus the whole linear nature of it. That, to me, is the ONLY real flaw. I’ll admit that it wasn’t a great one but it was good enough. I might be one of the few that wishes the game was actually longer… much longer.

  19. f0qnax
    f0qnax says:
    May 10, 2010 at 11:31 am #

    I don’t really get this comic, but then again the only Final Fantasy I played was FFIII.

  20. KitFisto
    KitFisto says:
    May 10, 2010 at 11:47 am #

    Haven’t played 13 but the wom is the same everywhere – linear, ok battle system, bad soundtrack, horrible story & pacing – unbelievably underwhelming reception from gamers. Square(-Enix) used to be untouchable when it came to RPGs, it’s a shame now that FF series is just a cash cow and nothing more. Series has been on a steady decline since VI if you ask me, until IX, then never righted the ship again.

  21. Gen
    Gen says:
    May 10, 2010 at 12:34 pm #

    I am an FF fanboy admittedly, and even I hated this. I tried to love it, I really did. Unfortunately, all the bad things you heard are true. FF13 also had probably the most disappointing ending ever. Yes you will sit there and say “I played 40+ hours for this? *RAAAAGE*”

  22. DudeHack
    DudeHack says:
    May 10, 2010 at 12:37 pm #

    The game is not bad, it is just not great.
    Combat system – 4/5
    Story – 3/5
    Graphics – 5/5 even on the xbox 360 version
    Music – 2/5

    My main gripes with the game come from how long and linear it is. I hated 12 with a passion, mainly because I could not understand/care about the first 4 – 5 characters you get in the storyline.

    The Music is horrible!. Newsflash square, western audiences may not mind a repeating soundtrack in levels, we do not like terrible terrible sung tracks over and over. I loved the into to the chocobo area earlier in the game. Then they have to sing! Honestly the worst music in a FF game.

    Graphics – I noticed the difference between the 360 and the ps3 graphics. After about 5 hours I did not care. It still looks pretty.

    To the commenter who said it was hardware vs software that caused it. No, it was proven early on that square outputted the game at a lower res for the xbox 360 to save space and not have to do another disc. I would have preferred that as the xbox can output 1080p very easily.

  23. Joseph
    Joseph says:
    May 10, 2010 at 1:27 pm #

    Was an ok game, at first I really enjoyed it and then I agreed with all the reviews about it becoming much better after chapter 10, which is about 20-25 hours in. But when I did complete the game I felt really disappointed by it. I didnt see the point in doing the post game stuff, you should have been able to do that from the get go. The entire game is linear even the levelling up, I also did not like that even with all my characters as high as they could go by the final boss and with quite a few 2nd level weapons maxed, that trying to beat the game with my favourite characters (Lightning, Sazh and Snow) was unforgivably difficult. I then switched them for Hope, Fang and Lightning, I beat the boss without any difficulty wtf!? Also last boss just looks retarded, still not as bad as FFX’s though

  24. Xuncu
    Xuncu says:
    May 10, 2010 at 2:03 pm #

    Ahhm, I don’t get the joke. ^^;;;

  25. Dustin1280
    Dustin1280 says:
    May 10, 2010 at 2:03 pm #

    I must be one of the only ones that liked this game. I enjoyed the story, the characters, and the battle system. My only real complaint is no airship and the extremely linear first 30 hours of the game.

    I did enjoy it very much though, the only FF i did NOT like was FF12

  26. Zorpheus
    Zorpheus says:
    May 10, 2010 at 2:50 pm #

    To those who don’t get the joke: The chick is named Lightning. You can equip rings that will make you resistant to elements. Get it now?

  27. Steve Napierski
    Steve Napierski says:
    May 10, 2010 at 2:52 pm #

    @Zorpheus Thanks, I didn’t want to say anything.

  28. Inotherworlds
    Inotherworlds says:
    May 10, 2010 at 6:33 pm #

    I’ll say that this was a decent game, but not what I was expecting.

    Do I beat the dead horse and say that a meter stick is less linear than this game? Well my rhetorical question says it anyways, so, moving on.

    This game had/has a lot of potential. The combat system has the makings of a truly brilliant masterpiece, but its seems awfully limited. This entry in the Final Fantasy series feels incredibly like a more enclosed “Tales of” -esque combat system than anything. The roles could’ve been developped further, where more depth could of really brought out some intensely fun strategies to invoke, but like someone mentioned above me, you end up going to the same plan every time.

    I could go on, but this is only a comment section. I(‘m) still enjoyed/enjoying this game, as the end game stuff is not as linear as the rest of the game (oh crap, I mentioned its linear-ness again).

    I say, give it a chance. Let the first part of the game impress you with its eye candy, and get immersed in the gameplay as it seductively lets you play more and more of it. You may actually enjoy it in the end. If you don’t, then move on with your life.

  29. yanipheonu
    yanipheonu says:
    May 10, 2010 at 7:41 pm #

    Final Fantasy XIII is my second favourite FF ever, my first being FF6. The battle system, the amazing art design, the spectacular music. Even if you don’t like it, 13 deserves to be in the same hallowed status as the others (I didn’t like 12 as much, but I understand what makes it as great as the previous ones).

    Some people are being real drama queens with the linearity, but its certainly not unprecedented, many FFs involve a beginning that forces you to go to only one location until the game opens up. IN fact, the game is set up EXACTLY like FF10, you’re stuck on a linear path for most of that game as well.

    Honestly though, people were always going to bitch about the new FF. Not matter what they do, fans will bitch about any conceivable aspect of the game. Some people will never be satisfied unless the game is exactly like FF6, FF7, or their personal favorite. People really dig FF13 despite all the bitching from others, and Square will keep making FF the way they want, and people will enjoy and buy those games.

    I’m just glad this is the first FF13 comic that doesn’t bitch about how they don’t like the game, and instead makes a legitimate joke. :D Many people really like the game and want to laugh without get an earful of rant.

  30. David
    David says:
    May 10, 2010 at 8:36 pm #

    @Other David: I’m still trying to figure out where the previous Final Fantasy games were so free-form. You could wander around and grind, and there are usually a few side quests, but when are you ever in a position where the progression isn’t clearly mapped out? When were my choices having dramatic impacts on how things played out?

    Although that’s not to say that being linear ever hurt the series (I’d argue it made it better by allowing it to tell a more coherant story).

  31. Steve Napierski
    Steve Napierski says:
    May 10, 2010 at 8:49 pm #

    @David Final Fantasy XII was very open. Granted you had to level up or get lucky to move to new areas, but you could go where you wanted in that and take on a lot of different hunts as well. I think the overworld map that allowed people to move around and such that has been missing since X is what a lot of people are referencing.

  32. Xarcara
    Xarcara says:
    May 10, 2010 at 9:11 pm #

    20 25 hours for what people call the tutorial is down right stupid i dont care how you spin it the battle system sucks which since thats the only way you interact with the game pretty much says it all and i say it sucks because the ai never acts like i want them to and i cant even give them broad commands they just run a scripted based on there current class its always the same and for all boss fights sucks

  33. Malagron
    Malagron says:
    May 10, 2010 at 9:57 pm #

    FFXIII is absolutely awful. The graphics and battle system are the only redeeming qualities. Now, for the record, I was about 26 hours in before I traded it in, but the last 8 or so hours were a definite test of my patience. Very much a “okay, this must just be a lull, okay, that’s fine, I’ll just tough it out” kinda thing.

    The battle system allows for 3 person parties, as you find out near the beginning, but for the next 10+ hours, you’re stuck with two people for “story” reasons. When the party does get split, instead of having differing stories, one character in each group dominates much of that time, and they have the exact same stories happen to both groups. And they play out in almost the exact same way. Instead of having two completely different people who experience the same event and process their emotions and such, there’s two completely different people who process things in the exact same way. I guess it’s handy if you accidentally skip a cutscene, because you’ll get the same one when it switches to the other group…

    Also, nothing outside of cutscenes matters for the first 20 or so hours. Quite literally. The only reason for everything outside of cutscenes is to get you to the next cutscene. And sometimes it doesn’t even make sense. You’re in some sort of weird electronic forest, or any of the other places, but it never really gives you any reason to be there other than “we have to go through here”. In the entire time I played the game, there was zero storytelling outside of cutscenes. You are placed in different locations to show off the graphics and that’s it. You do fight bosses alright, but there’s no reason that they are bosses. The only way you could tell is that they have a different model, they’re tougher to beat, and they come near or at the end of the current area. That’s it. Nothing even as basic as “you’re in the wild, and you’ve killed some hostile animals, and these happen to be the prey of an even bigger monster, and he’s decided to hunt you now”. It doesn’t even have to be related to the main story, but you get nothing.

    Essentially you’re playing a glorified video menu. With mini-games in between each scene, that are longer than the scenes, and required to see the next scene. If you need to rely on cutscenes that much, you’ve made a bad decision in trying to make a video game. They should’ve made it into a movie. But if they did, they would’ve realized how terrible the story was, and it would’ve gotten canned, but it’s somehow okay to put it in a video game.

    There’s also at least some parts of the game that were never QA’d. You know, the parts where you’d have a 10 minute long cutscene, come out of it, take 5 steps, and have another 15 minute cutscene. Then you come out of it and take 10 steps, and have a 5 minute cutscene. And there’s literally nothing in between. No fights, no save points, nothing. A save point would make some degree of sense, even if still having crappy design/pacing.

    The characters are also godawful. When the character that I can most relate to as a early 20′s white male is the middle aged black guy with a chicken in his afro (way to be progressive squeenix), there’s something very wrong. Hope and Vanille are nothing but annoying. Especially Vanille’s voice. She goes from having a very heavy accent, to almost nothing, from serious to bubbly and grating for no reason and at the wrong times.

    I find it hilarious that during the 16-bit heyday and even the PS1 days of RPGs, Square (Enix too) put out some of their best work, and the only real competition was Dragon Quest, and that was only in Japan. But since the PS2 hit, there’s been the Tales series, tri-ace, Mistwalker, SRPGS, and more RPGs made than probably ever before, and the quality of FF starts dropping.

  34. David
    David says:
    May 10, 2010 at 11:37 pm #

    Ah, now I get it. When I hear people talking about linear vs non-linear I think of it in a rawer sense. Explained like that I can agree that sort of gapless strict path progression is a terrible idea in a series that aims to have people playing for months. Randomly flying around the map may only simulate freedom but its enough to give the player a chance to screw around and recharge their batteries before heading back into the main event.

  35. Taroni
    Taroni says:
    May 11, 2010 at 5:18 am #

    The game’s not the best… but it’s not the worst either to me it feels like a looong action game with rpg elements. The game forgot to put one thing that has been in most rpgs since the Nintendo’s days: the chance to explore and learn of how of residents and cultures of the worlds. No matter what map the whole game is a dungeon run. The story I find good and I can’t decide who I like better; Snow or Light. If your like me Steve you’ll find the game enjoyable but will need a break from time to time to finish due to the long dungeon crawl it seems to be. Hope you enjoy it.

  36. Taroni
    Taroni says:
    May 11, 2010 at 5:22 am #

    Oh and an additional comment, why the hell does SE feel they should make FF with chapters, that kinda hurt 12 with me, and the only game I liked that in was Tactics, (for the psx) anyone else agree with me there?

  37. AnarCHris
    AnarCHris says:
    May 11, 2010 at 10:18 am #

    I’m currently on chapter 11 of FF13 (PS3 version) and I’m loving it. I doesnt play like the traditional J-RPG, which is fine, as I’ve felt the genre has been flatlining for the most part. It only improves with time, and is actually difficult all the way through, which makes it challenging and fun. Definetly stick with it, there are a ton of cool twists in the story that I certainly didn’t see coming.

  38. Berzerk
    Berzerk says:
    May 11, 2010 at 11:30 am #

    FFXIII is what happens when the game material is moving along the RPG conveyor belt, and is hit by a bigger better game, and knocked into the FPS belt. We get a game that doesn’t resemble anything, and smells like something the dog brought back.

  39. Chatterout
    Chatterout says:
    May 11, 2010 at 2:47 pm #

    My idea of 13 is this….
    Square-Enix got together every game system they put into a FF game that sucked and put it into this game….though they worked their asses off on every system till they formatted it to being a useful way of working…though the game was OK at most. Haven’t finished it though. Its not their best game, but not the worst, has some good things….so i say its Mediocre. I can actually enjoy it but not as much as others…
    I still find it funny how many people die on it and I’m still going.
    Friend: I died seven times and I’m still on the 6th chapter.
    Me: …..really? I’ve only died 3 times and Im on chapter 7…I think it has something to do with playing tactics?
    Also, if you wanna poke fun into this game more, have you noticed the heights of Snow and Lightning’s Sister?! She’s so…..TINY! I mean, there’s no way she’s of legal age!!! Together, they look like a beachbumb and a 16 year old who’s been doing him. Strangley reminds me of that whitest kids U Know…. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCQUzuOiCFA

  40. Tim Buchheim
    Tim Buchheim says:
    May 11, 2010 at 6:22 pm #

    I’m enjoying FFXIII quite a bit. Linear? Umm.. so was FFX. So was VII … that ‘world map’ in the PS1-era games was completely linear until you got the ability to cross rivers/mountains/ocean. XIII’s story is pretty decent. A few characters are underdeveloped and occasionally annoying, but I liked the plot.

    I beat the game a while ago, and am now finishing up the last few missions in Gran Pulse and trying to pick up a few extra trophies. (but no, I’m not going for the “craft every item” trophy.. it’s way too hard to get enough cash)

  41. RentCavalier
    RentCavalier says:
    May 11, 2010 at 6:43 pm #

    Final Fantasy XIII is fairly terrible, but you won’t realize it until you get to near the end. The whole game props itself on the basis that “it gets better” and that most of it is an extended tutorial. However, when you get to the “good” part of the game, all you have is a frustratingly difficult experiment in how to render a game completely unfun, by eliminating any and all choice for the player, giving you battles that you have little-to-no control over, no real sidequests or exploration, and a bland story supported by interesting but lackluster characters.

  42. Darrel
    Darrel says:
    May 11, 2010 at 7:38 pm #

    I’m in the endgame right now. It was a bit slow in the beginning, but it wasn’t near as horrible as everyone tries to make it seem. It’s a story based game, you’ve got to make some sacrifices sometimes. The character swapping also served to give you a handle on all the characters. For instance, Snow as a ravager only knows water, ice, and wind elements, while Sazh uses fire type moves more often. Each character has their own strengths and are used better in different situations. I’m about to finally take on the Gigantuar and I have to level up Sazh’s items and weapons and whatever so I can do that because he’s not in my normal team. Snow isn’t going to help against the Gigantuar…

  43. Allan
    Allan says:
    May 11, 2010 at 9:41 pm #

    If I was reviewing this game as something other than an FF game I’d say it was fairly good – the battle system is fast paced but still fairly tactical. The world is interesting and well designed. The sound and art are pretty good.

    Problem is, it’s not any other RPG, it’s a final fantasy game. As such, there are certain things I’m expecting from it that just aren’t there. The battle system is completely different (honestly I thought FF XII to be a big step forward), you spend most of the game going through a series of one way corridors, there aren’t many sidequests/secrets that aren’t basically combat related.

  44. HereticDante
    HereticDante says:
    May 12, 2010 at 5:25 am #

    im really loving it. the battles are streamlined and impressive, theres tons of character development and narrative, the enviroments are lush and gorgeous and theres a wide variety of different ways to kill anything foolish enough to cross your path. After the totally plot vacant tolkien clone rpgs of recent history i found it a very refreshing change to get something with a tight well developed narrative. also what the hell are you guys talking about with this most of the game is a tutorial crap? thats about as true as it is to say most of ff7 was tutorial cus it didn’t let you change all the party members at the start.
    the complaints about linearity seem to stem from the fact that this game was actually honest about how linear it is, rather than before when it was a bit more concealed. perhaps the illusion of freedom is more important to the average rpg gamer in the west

  45. Donis
    Donis says:
    May 12, 2010 at 12:00 pm #

    People usually told me the same about Naruto. “Ah, it get’s good after episode 50/150/200/etc”. I say fuck that. Kingdom Hearts II tutorial almost drove me mad already.

    Linearity isn’t about…well, being linear, but feeling linear. But alas I’m too lazy too expand upon this idea.

  46. FMyWu
    FMyWu says:
    May 12, 2010 at 4:30 pm #

    I personally enjoyed the game, and I am still working on beating all the Mark Missions. I personally enjoy playing a game to it’s absolute fullest, so I actually appreciate that I don’t have to run around and talk to every single NPC 20 times to get that awesome item that he holds when you talk to him that 20th time. The battle system is different, and takes a bit of getting used to, but once you do it’s a real joy to not have to worry about what everyone is doing, and really gives a better sense of action. Yes, it does feel more MMO-like, but different in the fact that your team members are actually competent in what they do.

    The story is alright, nothing to write home about but not terrible either. There are some parts that were pretty confusing, even after reading the Datalog, but I got over it, and I think I have the entire story figured out, save one (which I won’t mention because it may spoil part of the game for some people).

    In the end, I judge a game by how long it keeps me occupied. This one has for over a month and a half (in comparison, Dragon Age kept me occupied for about a month and a half and Mass Effect 2 for one month, and I loved both those games), so I’m happy with it.

  47. MarkysJazz
    MarkysJazz says:
    May 13, 2010 at 12:23 am #

    i loved it! fun to play, fun to watch, lots to do and lots to see!